Regional Economic Development for the High-Tech Economy

I heard Jay Foster, a Creative Connector from the Creative Communities Leadership Program (CCLP) in Roanoke, Virginia, give a talk entitled "Vision: Bridging the Valleys for Long-Term Economic Growth."

Jay Foster serves on the 81 Reasons to Connect project, one of four initiatives generated by the CCLP.  The "81" refers to the area's access to Interstate 81.

I appreciated Foster's talk very much.  He very kindly offered his full presentation in PowerPoint slides.  Excerpts from two slides accompany this post.

The best presentations generate questions, and I found myself with many, starting with this one:

I've only been back in Blacksburg, Virginia for 2 1/2 years after a 23-year absence.  Is "bridging the valleys" – the New River Valley and the Roanoke Valley – an assumed good rather than a topic of discussion?  Is everyone in agreement that the premise is valid?  Would connecting people in the RNR – the Roanoke and New River Valleys – result in long-term economic growth?  For either?  For one more than another?  For both?

I have a great interest in, and commitment to, "regional economic development" for many reasons.

All enterprises involve risk.  Still, I want to be reasonably sure that the propulsion behind my personal efforts on behalf of regional economic development – fostering the high-tech economy as a primary focus – are in a research-supported, results-intended direction.

Thanks, Jay, for sharing your research and ideas as the Creative Connectors begin their one-year project in support of quality of life in our area.

Update 5/8/09:  Thank you, Stuart Mease, for your answer to my question in Connecting People in the RNR – A One-Region Community.


Jay Foster, Creative Connector, 81 Reasons to Connect


Jay Foster, Creative Connector, 81 Reasons to Connect



  1. I had not realized that the new area of interest was the entire corridor … amazing diversity of challenges and opportunities! All counties/areas have not and are not likely to benefit equally so there will be very predictable disappointments. With planning, perhaps these can be reduced.

    A higher-education picture (with other that the 4 shown here) including Emory and Henry and others would be very impressive in Flora's "creative class" terms.

    There are plenty of reasons (81 or so) that we are in the "poor" class identified by Foster. What's the dream, 81 improvements, significant changes (toward desired stability or improvement) likely from investing time and money or accepting an idea (a spark to ignite the regional "gasoline")?

  2. This is an extremely informative and thus valuable post. Thanks.

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